You’ve just entered … the EURO-ZONE!

Earlier this week we read about the impending catastrophe in a place they’ve named the “euro-zone”. They -“They” – designed that economic multiple nation tie-up so that the domino-like collapse of those European nations would be delayed somewhat and, in the meantime, would not come to the attention of the rest of the world.

It’s the same kind of strategy that was meant to hide the impending collapse of the once highly profitable shipping industry. VSAs – Vessel Sharing Agreements – were put together, you’ll recall, because no single carrier could fill a mega-ship by itself. Turning to rival carriers for help would – they said – enable them to tread water and ride out the storm until things settled down. That action failed to pay off, so the next brilliant idea was “slow-steaming” so they could avoid laying up a few hundred thousand more TEUs. But let’s not get into that nonsense right now. You get the idea.

And it is all nonsense. Those carriers and those nations know the score. They just think they’re keeping the truth from rest of us. So far though, we still have the internet, and for those whose heads aren’t buried in the sand – the real situation has become quite clear.

So the European economic alliance is crashing, but they’re pretending that stronger nations can prop up the weaker ones. And carriers are losing billions of dollars, but by ordering Asian-built 18,000 TEU leviathans they’re pretending that the future will be quite rosy. Ordinary folks are no longer being deluded though, because many of them have fallen into poverty and are relying on safety net programs, like food stamps, to get from one day to the next.

It’s obvious that the root cause of all this destitution is world-wide unemployment. No paycheck, no buying power. No buying power, no demand for manufactured goods. No demand for manufactured goods, no jobs. No jobs, no paycheck. No paycheck … it’s a vicious circle.

The bottom line is, we’re broke and things can only get worse. According to Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan professor who specializes on the study of poverty: “The reality is that prospects for the poor and near poor are dismal. If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.”

So even if our streets aren’t filled with noisy protesters and rioters, our super markets and shopping malls will certainly be just as quiet. Only an Emergency Shipbuilding Program can pull our chestnuts out of the fire. Everything else has been tried. And everything else has failed.

Here’s what we’re leading up to. We’re broke. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. We can’t put food on the table or import foreign goods. The executive director of the Port of Long Beach just announced, however, that Long Beach (the unemployed and poverty-stricken taxpayer) is being told to kick in $ 1.2 billion to “build-out” a 300-acre, 3 million cargo container site in its Middle Harbor!

[And you thought the officials in the Euro-zone and in the shipping industry were screwballs?]